Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Prime Minister's Questions: David Cameron v Ed Miliband

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The full session of PM's questions: From Democracy Live

By Justin Parkinson

1239 That ends our live coverage of the quietest Prime Minister's Questions for quite some time, taking place as it did against the developing situation in Egypt. Please join us again next week.

1236 The BBC's Ben Wright says: So was that a refreshing change or utterly dull? From the backbenchers it was business as normal and the tribes resumed their jeering and cheering. Prompted by his own side the PM accused Labour of deficit denial. Opposition backbenchers focused on the consequences of cuts. The last question on forests fires up the Chamber too. David Cameron says he's listening to all the arguments. Perhaps a hint that the government's proposals will change when its consultation's done.

1232 Labour's Barry Sheerman says the government's plan for forests will take away the land from ordinary people. The PM says other organisations could do a better job than the Forestry Commission, saying that the commission is both in charge of looking after forests and also the owner of them. Speaker John Bercow tells off Labour MPs for shouting over Mr Cameron. That ends Prime Minister's Questions for this week.

1231 Conservative Oliver Heald says pensions must be good enough to ensure security and comfort. Mr Cameron says a stronger private pensions sector is desirable.

1230 Tory Jackie Doyle-Price urges Mr Cameron to offer words of encouragement for more schools to become academies. Mr Cameron obliges.

1228 Tory John Glen says greater prominence needs to be given to early-years education to help children out of poverty. Mr Cameron says there will be better nursery education and more help for those from underprivileged backgrounds.

1226 Mr Cameron says the government is working to boost Northern Ireland's private sector.

1225 Tory Zac Goldsmith asks whether support for the EU's fishing policy will be reliant on excess fish not being thrown overboard. The PM agrees to work towards this.

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PMQs review with Iain Duncan Smith, Yvette Cooper and Nick Robinson

1224 A jokey question from a Tory MP on Labour's "golden" economic inheritance. Mr Cameron says shadow chancellor Ed Balls is "in denial" over the budget deficit.

1222 Ann Clwyd says Deputy PM Nick Clegg pledged support for Remploy workers two years ago and asks what happened. Mr Cameron says the government will help disabled people into work.

1220 Labour's Ronnie Campbell says the cuts agenda will affect vulnerable, hard-working people. Mr Cameron says every tough decision is a result of the deficit left by Labour.

1219 The BBC's Ben Wright says: Ed Miliband and David Cameron agree on everything shock. An eerily quiet and unusually civilised PMQs. Politics the way it sometimes can be. Ed Miliband played the role of statesman-in-waiting, probing the PM about Egypt and Afghanistan. As David Cameron said, the backbenchers might want a bun fight, but maybe this sort of discussion is what voters would rather hear.


1218 Plaid Cyrmu's Elfyn Llwyd says executives at state-owned banks who take "grotesque" bonuses should not receive honours. Mr Cameron says such people will be paying more taxes in future.

1217 Tory Nadine Dorries asks about planning permission for an incinerator in her constituency, saying it should not be imposed on local people. Mr Cameron says ministerial decisions will take such factors into account.

1216 Tory Laura Sandys urges help for those staff who will be laid off by Pfizer, whose UK HQ is in her Sandwich constituency. Mr Cameron says he is encouraging other companies to come in.

1214 Labour's Vernon Coaker says a six-year-old autistic boy has had funding for speech therapy removed. Mr Cameron says people have to fight for such treatment and that moves are under way to make the appeals process less confrontational.

1213 Lib Dem Simon Wright calls for improvements to the A11 road. Mr Cameron says funding is guaranteed.

1211 Mr Miliband raises a laugh when he says people aren't used to this type of PMQs - it's been a quiet, serious, question and answer session with no cheering or catcalls from the backbenches. Mr Cameron agrees that people in the Commons may "prefer a bun-fight", but says it is important to discuss foreign policy issues in a considered way, noting that British forces in Afghanistan wanted to see the issue debated properly. That ends Mr Miliband's questions.

1210 The Labour leader argues that a lasting political settlement in Afghanistan is needed. Mr Cameron says that setting a timetable for UK withdrawal encourages the country's authorities to improve their performance.

1209 Mr Miliband moves on to Afghanistan, which he visited recently. What is the state of progress of the mission, he asks. Mr Cameron says the increase in the Afghan army is on target. The mood in the chamber is quiet - no political point scoring so far.

1207 Continuing on Egypt, Mr Cameron says the long-term interests of the UK require a stable Middle East.

1206 Mr Miliband asks about the transition to democracy in Egypt. Mr Cameron says the UK stands with those around the world who want such a change. Reform is required rather than repression, he continues. An orderly transition must happen soon, the PM argues.

1204 Labour leader Ed Miliband pays tribute to soldiers in Afghanistan. He asks for an update on British nationals in Egypt. Mr Cameron says there are around 30,000 in the Red Sea area, which is armed and stable. Elsewhere, there are still commercial flights out and more are being laid on, he adds. The UK government has reacted swiftly to the situation on the country, Mr Cameron says.

1202 Lib Dem Bob Russell says some local authorities are using spending cuts to reduce voluntary activities. The PM says councils should focus on reducing unnecessary staff instead.

1201 We are under way. David Cameron pays tribute to a serviceman killed in Afghanistan.

1157 Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says the economy was growing at the time of the election, but is contracting as a result of coalition policies.

1155 The BBC's Ben Wright says: With the Institute for Fiscal Studies report (which says the coalition cuts will be hard to deliver) out today, we could have a re-run of last week's grapple between Cameron and Miliband over how to get the economy growing. But Labour are going big on the forest sell-off later, with an opposition day debate in the Commons. Ed Miliband might be tempted to chip away at the government on that, which is still getting plenty of criticism from campaigners. Or there's health, which Labour believes the government is sounding shaky on. Mr Cameron's brother-in-law is likely to get a name check if Mr Miliband goes on that.

1153 Before the main event, Welsh Secretary Cheryl Gillan is taking questions. The chamber is quite lively, with the benches about a third full. Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has taken his seat.

1148 BBC correspondent Ben Wright will be providing up-to-the-minute analysis. And we will get the Westminster inside view from former Tory leader, and Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith and Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, courtesy of BBC Two's Daily Politics.

1143 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Prime Minister's Questions from the House of Commons. On a rather gloomy day at Westminster, David Cameron is likely to face inquiries about the state of the economy, with issues like the unrest in Egypt and the news that drugs maker Pfizer announced is planning to close its Kent base, which employs 2,400 people.



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